More and more studies are finding that extended periods of sitting significantly increase our risk of developing various medical conditions, some of them serious. This is true even for those who exercise regularly.
With increased computer use, video game playing and TV watching comes increased sitting. While the currently-recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity is good for staying healthy, what you do during the remaining 23½ hours each day matters very much also.
Causes and Development
Potential adverse consequences of a sedentary lifestyle include increased waist circumference and insulin
resistance, and increased risk of breast cancer, colon
cancer, and cardiovascular
Treatment and Prevention
There is good news. Studies are finding that even small increases in physical activity appear to have great positive benefits: Get up from your chair often and walk around. Get some fresh air, answer a phone call while walking, talk to someone in person rather than on the phone or by text message, or walk while having a meeting rather than sitting at a conference table.
The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends setting up your computer to remind you to get up and walk around every 60 minutes.
A study published October, 2011 in the journal Cancer Prevention Research
found that for post-menopausal women, taking frequent breaks from sitting is associated with smaller waist circumference and lower levels of C-reactive proteins, both biomarkers associated with elevated risk of some cancers.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
analyzed data of 4,757 participants and found that even short periods of light activity – for example frequently standing up and walking for as little as a minute – reduced biomarkers such as large waist circumference, elevated triglyceride
levels and increased insulin
resistance, which are linked to heightened cardiovascular
disease and may also boost risk of various cancers.
References and Further Information
Research was presented in November, 2011 at the American Institute for Cancer Research's (AICR) annual conference. The AICR presented data suggesting that about 100,000 new cases of breast cancer and colon cancer per year can be associated with physical inactivity.